Here you are, staring at a blank piece of paper and a blinking cursor. All the brilliant ideas you’ve had have leaked out somehow and you’re trying to figure out what to write about. Whether you’re starting a novel, short story, blog post, informational article, these 5 questions should help you figure out the topic that you want to write about so you can start writing!
1. What or who do I follow on social media?
This might feel like a strange question, but it can help you narrow in on what things you enjoy. I fell like all too often, we hear “What things do you like?” and our minds go blank or we give very perfunctory answers. Looking at the people, stores, shows, etc, that we follow on our social media pages will help us think about the things we actually care about and then write about them.
2. What have I written about before?
This question allows us to find a theme from what we’ve already written about. Maybe you’ve written quite a few things on travel. Or maybe you tend to write strong female characters. Maybe you tend towards mythical creatures. Maybe sports heroes. Whatever it is, it’ll give you a direction. Though, on the flip side, it could remind you why you didn’t like certain topics and you can avoid them.
3. How much time do I have to write this?
Is this a project you want to have finished in a week, month, year, whenever? Knowing that timetable you’ve set (or an employer or such) will let you think about your topics in a new way. If you only have a week, maybe don’t choose a topic that you’ll have to spend most of the time researching. Informational articles or historical fiction/nonfiction are two big categories where this will become an issue. But if you have a long or no deadline, feel free to find a topic that interests you but you don’t know much about and research the heck out of it.
4. Who is my audience?
This question is always important to ask before you start writing. If you want to write for young children, choosing a serial killer as a main character is a bad idea no matter how well the character seems to jump off the page. Of course, your audience may change as your story or article grows (unless you have a set audience already) but you should still have something in mind. This can also help you narrow down what you want to write about by ruling out characters, settings, etc.
5. Why am I writing this?
Are you writing this to provide people with information? Choose a topic people are frequently google searching for. Are you writing this to entertain an audience? Ask them what their favorite stories are. Are you writing this to draw people into your blog? Ask your readers or other writers in a similar niche. Are you writing because you love it? Start writing what you’re thinking and an idea will eventually emerge. No matter why you’re writing, this can help you narrow down the best topic out there for you.
These are the questions I try to ask myself and I recommend to other writers as they are beginning to choose their topics. Writing can be difficult and writer’s block is often seen as the enemy. But there are ways to beat it and to find a topic that you are happy and excited to write about! Happy writing!
Do you have any other questions you would add? Comment below!